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Wednesday, June 2

Washington, Rawalpindi, and India


The weeks running up to the U.S.-India strategic dialogue in Washington (June 2-3) saw feverish activity on the part of the Obama administration. A gaggle of officials was dispatched to Pakistan on May 19 to deliver a vague but sternly worded letter from President Obama. Translated from diplo-speak it read, 'You better not blow anybody up while we're meeting with the Indians.'

The letter was not mentioned in the joint statement by CIA head Leon Panetta and National security adviser James L. Jones in their summary of the visit. The statement said that Gen. Jones "expressed appreciation" for Pakistan's "excellent cooperation" in determining ties the Obama administration says it has uncovered between the alleged bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and Pakistan-based militant groups:
The carefully worded communique referred indirectly to U.S. concern that a successful attack would severely undermine the countries' bilateral relationship and to Pakistan's insistence that it not be held responsible for actors over which it has no control. ...
But an unnamed Pakistani diplomatic source let the cat out of the bag. Pakistan's The Nation reported on May 28:
ISLAMABAD – Building up more pressure on Pakistan for early operation in North Waziristan, the US has threatened to operate itself against Taliban inside the Pakistani territories in case Islamabad dillydallies on doing more in this regard.

US President Barack Hussain Obama has conveyed this message directly to his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari in his letter delivered last week by high ranking visiting American officials including CIA Chief Leon Panetta and US National Security Advisor Gen James Jones, highly placed diplomatic sources told The Nation here.

According to the sources, President Zardari has not yet replied in writing to a two-page letter that General James Jones delivered to him last week. In the first place, President Zardari during his meeting with these officials is said to have given no indication of how Pakistan would respond to the message. [...]
So it's an exciting time here in Washington with the strategic dialogue underway, as everybody glances at their watch every 15 minutes and jumps a foot whenever a car backfires.

I'll have more news on the strategic dialogue later in the week, but right now I have to struggle into my flak jacket for a lunch appointment across town.
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